Lutzke: BBWAA was born in Detroit to protect reporters’ press box seats

From SABR member Mitch Lutzke at Tigers History on December 19, 2019:

As baseball fans’ focus moves away from the diamond during the winter months and toward the offseason awards and Hall of Fame nominees, few may realize Detroit’s vital role in the selection process. The group in charge of the elections, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, was created a century ago in the burgeoning Motor City during one the Tigers’ World Series appearances.

The importance of this group of baseball writers is unparalleled in all of the sporting world. These scribes annually vote players into the Hall of Fame, select the Rookie of the Year, Manager of the Year, Cy Young, and Most Valuable Player awards. Off the diamond, the BBWAA names the J.G Taylor Spink Award, given to a notable reporter whose career exemplifies writing excellence.

During the 1908 World Series between Chicago and Detroit, the largest group of reporters to ever cover a World Series congregated in the two Midwestern towns. Each major league city, except one, sent scribes, as did Toledo, Indianapolis, and Toronto along with reporters from many from smaller cities. However, this mass of writers was being crowded out of the press box, in favor of local self-proclaimed big-wigs and baseball cranks.  As a result of the intolerable hospitality, big league scribes met during the series in Detroit and elected a Tigers beat reporter to be the president of their newly created organization.

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Originally published: December 19, 2019. Last Updated: December 19, 2019.